Well-defined consumer data rights are key to a faster energy transition

This article was first published on WePower - Medium

In my opinion, there is something holding back global energy transition, which hasn’t yet sparked the attention and debate it deserves — who should own the rights to access and use people’s energy consumption data? Should it be the energy providers or the people like you and I, who are the actual consumers?

One could ask, who cares, but trust me, the answer to this question is what makes all the difference. The one who owns the right to use the data has the power to decide who uses it, who creates solutions through using it, and who stops others from doing it. I will take you through two examples:

1. It was recently revealed that the Australian power network operator, Vector, sold access to the data about the private life patterns of 1.6 million people to Amazon. While in Australia this was considered to be business as usual — one major service provider sharing information with another one, in Europe, it is seen as a serious violation. A deal of this sort would have required an explicit opt-in go-ahead from all the consumers/meter owners affected.

2. Different grid operators in Europe recently founded an initiative called The Data Bridge Alliance, in order to simplify access to energy consumption data. Companies such as WePower are invited to join the project so that we can create innovative solutions that help speed up the energy transition process. Collaboration of this scale is only possible thanks to Europe being GDPR regulated, and the end-users owning the rights to their data. People can then decide which solutions they give a green light to and which ones they don’t.

I remember the early debates among European networking operators as to whether the energy consumption data is private or not, and if they should be allowed to ...

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